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Capitals' road trip continues against Avalanche

by John Kreiser

CAPITALS (9-7-1) at AVALANCHE (13-2-0)


Last 10: Washington 7-2-1; Colorado 8-2-0

Season series: It's the second and final meeting of the season between the Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche. Colorado rolled over the Capitals 5-1 at Verizon Center on Oct. 12 and has won the past three games against Washington.

Big story: The Capitals come to Denver to complete a two-game weekend trip after seeing a 3-1 lead late in regulation turn into a 4-3 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night. But they're playing a lot better than they were when Colorado embarrassed them at home four weeks ago. Colorado won for the 13th time in 15 games by holding off the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Friday.

Team Scope:

Capitals: A game that looked like it would be a routine victory turned into a disappointing shootout loss when the Capitals couldn't close the deal in Phoenix. Washington led 3-1 before Lauri Korpikoski scored with 3:36 remaining in regulation. Nate Schmidt then shot the puck over the glass with 2:01 remaining for a delay of game penalty, and Shane Doan scored 15 seconds later to force overtime. No one scored during the extra five minutes, but the Coyotes connected on both their shootout attempts to steal a win.

"We had too many penalties in general. You know that's going to bite you at some point," coach Adam Oates said. "It did.

"We got a point," he added. "I'm sure we're not happy right now, but we've got to recharge for tomorrow."

Avalanche: Colorado coach Patrick Roy's experiment with playing No. 1 draft pick Nathan MacKinnon on the wing didn't last long; MacKinnon was back in the middle against the Flames. But Roy's confidence in the first player taken in the 2013 NHL Draft continues to grow.

MacKinnon saw the ice in crunch time Friday night when the Avalanche were trying to hang onto a one-goal lead. He also had the primary assist on John Mitchell's game-winning goal in the second period.

"He was flying," Roy said. "I felt like I wanted to give him more because he was playing a super game."

Who's hot: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had an assist Saturday and has five points in three games since returning from an upper-body injury. Nicklas Backstrom didn't hit the score sheet against Phoenix, but he has eight points in his past five games. … Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere is 5-0-0 after beating the Flames and has allowed five goals in his five starts.

Injury report: Washington is still without defensemen Jack Hillen (leg) and John Erskine (knee); both are on long-term injured reserve. … Colorado is missing defenseman Ryan Wilson (back) and forward Alex Tanguay (knee).

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